KNA The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has launched a road safety campaign to promote the safety of school going children around the country.
In the campaign dubbed Look Out! Tuvuke Salama, NTSA intends to distribute hand held Stop/Go signs to 50,000 primary and secondary schools located along high-risk roads in the next five years.
According to statistics, Kenya had an estimated total of 46,530 pre-primary, 32,344 primary and 10,487 secondary schools as at 2019. Most children go to school at dawn and return at dusk, a time synonymous with road accidents due to low visibility.
NTSA Director General George Njao said in collaboration with other stakeholders his agency remains committed to reducing road carnage through the campaign.
“This campaign resonates well with our National Road Safety Policy direction of ensuring we have a safe, reliable, efficient and effective road transport system. This priority policy direction is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and our Vision 2030, to reduce road fatalities by at least 50 percent,” added Mr Njao.
The NTSA Director General made the remark in a speech read on his behalf by the Authority’s deputy Communications manager, Dido Guyatu during the launch of the campaign held outside the Coast regional Commissioner’s Uhuru na Kazi building offices.
He added that the agency was working with various Ministries, State departments and Agencies to ensure road safety becomes an integral part of government programmes to improve safety of all road users in the country.
Mr Njao added that NTSA and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development were developing a road safety curriculum for learners whereby students will study basics of road safety and help address some of road safety challenges.
“We cannot afford to lose them through road crashes. When planning, policy-makers and leaders must recognize children’s vulnerabilities. Road crashes are not “accidents”. We need to challenge the notion that crashes are unavoidable and road users must make room for a proactive and preventive approach,” he remarked.
The NTSA boss however also challenged parents to observe road safety rules and regulations for their children to imitate their actions. “Children learn by imitation and careful observation of adult’s actions. If we get this culture right, children will begin developing road safety skills well before they reach adulthood,” he observed.
Coast regional commissioner John Elungata praised NTSA and Vivo Kenya for the campaign, which he observed will assure safety of students crossing busy roads daily to and from schools in Mombasa and other Coast counties.
“It is important for this intervention measures to reach to all road users in areas opening up due to national government development projects in our region. We need to have signage and bumps in such areas for the safety of children crossing roads to schools,” added Mr Elungata in a speech read by his personal assistant, Mr Peter Jumwa.
Coast Regional Traffic Enforcement Officer Peter Maina urged NTSA to enlist Public Service Vehicle operators into the school children road safety campaign.
He feared that the objective of the campaign would not be realized without the involvement of matatu, motorcycle bodaboda riders and other PSV operators.
On his part, Mombasa County Transport Chief Officer, Engineer Albert Keno hailed NTSA for the campaign adding that the region was also in the process of erecting speed limit signs on key busy roads near schools.
“We shall be having a lot of road safety activities to enhance the safety of pedestrians in our county, where 33 percent of the population walk,” added Engineer Keno.
Vivo Energy Kenya (VEK), Distribution Manager, Mr. Francis Owuor said the objective of the campaign was to create awareness on the importance of road safety for school-going children.
Mr Owuor added, “Vivo Energy’s community programmes are designed to deliver a cultural shift in attitudes to road safety across the general population, in particular amongst school children.”
He said his company plans to donate nearly 1,000 STOP signs to 100 schools in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kericho, Embu, Kisumu and Nyeri counties.